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The Evening Brief: May 22, 2013

Your evening reading: committee dinner, paid for by lobby, racked up $22,000 tab; budget breakthrough in sight; Perry meets with health care hecklers

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New in The Texas Tribune

•    An Expensive Celebration, Courtesy of the Lobby: "End-of-session dinners are commonplace for legislative committees at the end of the session, and they can be lavish affairs. One this week, feting members of the powerful House Calendars Committee, cost more than $22,000 and included 85 bottles of wine for about 140 people."

•    Legislature's Budget Logjam May Be Breaking: "The end of a budget stalemate appeared to be in sight on Wednesday afternoon, as Senate Finance Chairman Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, announced plans to lay out a key bill on the Senate floor."

•    Health Care Hecklers Meet With Perry: "Gov. Rick Perry met with three health care activists who helped organize a protest of his speech before Austin business leaders Wednesday. Both sides said the meeting was cordial, though there were no breakthroughs."

•    School Marshal Bill Headed for Governor's Desk: "The Senate on Wednesday gave its approval to House Bill 1009, which would allow school districts to designate certain employees to carry concealed weapons and serve as school marshals."

•    Birdwell "Disappointed" With Stalled Campus Carry Bill: "State Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury, faces a growing and likely insurmountable challenge in his efforts to pass a bill allowing the concealed carry of firearms in buildings on university and college campuses."

•    Bill Allowing Hotter Waste in Texas Passes House: "A bill allowing hotter radioactive waste from other states to be deposited in a dump in Andrews County passed the House on Wednesday, after a brief debate between state Reps. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, and Tryon Lewis, R-Odessa."


•    Texas lawmaker had warrant out for arrest nearly a year (Austin American-Statesman): "A Texas legislator has had an Austin police warrant out for his arrest for nearly a year for an unresolved speeding ticket, but paid his fine this afternoon within minutes of an American-Statesman inquiry. 'It was an oversight on my part,' said State Rep. James White, a Republican from Hillister. 'I’ve just taken care of it.'"

•    Cornyn: Military strength depends on stopping sexual assaults (San Antonio Express-News): "Recent allegations of sexual assault by members of our armed forces have refocused national attention on a problem that is sadly familiar. The U.S. military is known for its strong integrity, rigorous standards and commitment to excellence, yet the disturbing prevalence of sexual abuse is victimizing thousands of women and damaging the military's image."

•    Ted Poe, Sheila Jackson Lee pledge support for a free press, push for shield law (Houston Chronicle): "Three Texas lawmakers are leading a revived effort in the House of Representatives to win passage of a federal press shield law. The proposal unveiled today on Capitol Hill states the government would be required to go through a judicial process before seizing confidential information from the press."

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